You cover the hole in your throat with your finger to tell me the story,
the odd scratchy vibrato striking me with its extra softness,
a tiny kazoo lodged in your trachea played pianissimo.
I have even more trouble listening to your words over images of eating through a tube.
They don’t really call that eating do they? I don’t ask.
You say you must choose now: eating or talking.
It’s too hard to do both at the same time.
The plastic tube, your food, I envision oozing gray liquids.
Is it possible to inhale what you’re eating? I don’t ask.
Is coughing to death if it runs into your lungs a fear you have? I don’t ask.
It’s the story you don’t tell that’s the cautionary tale.
You quit smoking before I did, and I smoked for many more years.
I can’t stop staring at your finger pressing closed the hole in your throat,
wonder how long it took you to learn that.
Do you ever try to sing anymore?